Career in Psychiatry & future perspectives:


Career in Psychiatry & future perspectives:

An interactive session of young psychiatrists
with Prof.Norman Sartorius

LAHORE: Organizers of the Asia-Pacific Conference on Psychosocial Rehabilitation held at Lahore last month had thought of many innovative things while planning the scientific programme and one of such thing was an interesting interactive session of young psychiatrists with Prof.Norman Sartorius who was termed as the wisest man in mental health today who spent over thirty years in WHO looking after its mental health division. Career in Psychiatry and future perspectives came under discussion in detail. Brig. Prof.Mowadat H. Rana, Dean Faculty of Psychiatry at CPSP, Prof. Iqbal Afridi, Prof.Sultan, Prof.Khalild Mufti, Prof. Farid Minhas and many other senior psychiatrists were also present in this session and enriched the discussion with their useful comments, remarks and suggestions. During the discussions it was pointed out that the subject of psychosocial rehabilitation should be included in the postgraduate training of psychiatrists.

Dr. Chaudhry, Dr. Nasar Sayeed Khan, Prof.Sultan, Prof.Iqbal Afridi, Dr. Afzal Jawaid, Prof. Pichet
photographed during the Asia Pacific Conference on Psychosocial Rehabilitation held at Lahore
recently while on right is a group photograph of some of the delegates attending the conference.

One of the participants raised the issue of classifications in DSM V and ICD 11 to which Prof. Norman Sartorius stated that for clinical work small number of classifications is important. Stigmatization was highlighted as an important problem in psychiatry. It was emphasized that mental healthcare professionals should be able to prevent the diseases and reduce chances of medications. It is a myth that psychotropic’s are very expensive. In fact most of the drugs used to treat mentally ill patients are quite economically priced and quite affordable and it was the duty of the psychiatrists to practice rational prescribing. Most of the old drugs are quite safe and as effective as the new most expensive medications. Hence, always prescribe best cost effective safe drugs. Doctors should be ethical and responsible and provide better treatment. If the patients do not get drugs, they think of suicide.

Dr. Ajmal Kazmi along with Dr. Sadaf Rashid and Dr. Aisha chairing
one of the scientific sessions during Asia Pacific Conference on
Psychosocial Rehabilitation held at Lahore recently.

Mental healthcare professionals need to change themselves. Mentally ill people are not the same. Make yourself realistic and change your own attitudes first. Medical profession itself contributes to stigmatization of psychiatry. It is important that we must clean our house first. Give right to those who are mentally ill. Look at it how the families treat their members who are mentally ill. Increase the value of those mentally ill so that they are treated better. Doctors must write about self stigmatization of psychiatry by their own colleagues. We can eliminate this stigma by writing about it, Prof.Norman Sartorius remarked.
Stigma with female psychiatrists in particular also figured in the discussion. Cultural differences also have its effect on practice of psychiatry. Hence it is important that we take into account the local scenarios and try to take best out of every culture. Make a check list for practice of psychiatry. Leaders of the profession and scientific medicine must promote supportive therapy, medication and encourage confidence. Placebo effects are useful in life. Different countries have adopted different approaches towards traditional healers. Practice of traditional medicine, Prof.Norman Sartorius opined, was a respectable way. Bone setters in Africa are doing a commendable job and set bones exceptionally well and they are accepted as professionals. We need to look at the positive side of traditional healers.
Medical students, it was pointed out, spend very little time during their training in psychiatry and there are no standard teaching and training programmes all over the country as it varies from institution to institution. Prof.Norman Sartorius stated that to improve mental healthcare, we need to identify the GPs who are interested in mental health, train them and then ask them to train the GPs, Family Physicians who will listen to them much better. Psychiatrists can sit there as a resource person. Caring the carers will cut the relapse rate. If mental healthcare professionals are themselves depressed, going through stress all the time it will affect their training and patient care as well. You must like your profession and if you are not at ease, it is better to leave and take up some other profession in which you think you can be better off and at ease with yourself. Talk to yourself and look at your own health. Make yourself happy and you will be able to help others. Prof.Norman Sartorius further emphasized that doctors needs to be taught listening skills. Young psychiatrists and trainees in this discipline need to attend leadership courses, Prof.Norman Sartorius remarked.